Friday, November 21, 2008

Shotgun 911?! Now?!

Alright, so it's a few months late, and no one looks at this blog anymore, but boys and girls, here's my "Shotgun 911" image. This week got slow towards the end so I finally the time and drive to it down and do it. If anyone sees it, let me know what you think.

Also, I'd like to hear from everyone how their year this going thus far. How about some work up here so I can see it?

peace, love, and bourbon,
Your favorite teacher Mike.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Winehouse Pic

Of course as soon as I finished I realized the colors were very similar to Rachel's. Guess I'll have to redo this later. At any rate, here is the Final Product, Mixed media on Illustration Board. had fun making the color pop for once. Let me know what you all think. Shotgun forthcoming, hopefully before school starts. We ever getting a design project? I think I forgot how to use InDesign...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Scrapbook Stalking

So here's my sickly sweet illustration & my first flawed attempt at Robert Ryan style illustration through silhouette and cut paper. If I had to do it again, I'd definitely try sketching with cut paper because the final product looked very different from my initial pencil sketches.

Hope everyone's having a great rest of summer and enjoying their time off!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Follow ups- The sketches come home

Hey everybody-
So I've been so busy with academy work and the upcoming WUPR cover (which you can see in process on my blog) that sadly I still haven't finished an assignment yet. I have, however, furthered my concepts and tonight I finally scanned them in. 
For Ms. Winehouse, I have finally decided on an image. she will be swarmed by a veritable sea of hands. I have photo reference, and this illo is ready for final procedures as soon as i get home.

For the shotgun 911, i went back to the hunter motif, and have him calling emergency plane landing style, in effect being instructed on how to surgically repair his gun. Oddly, a squirrel will be his assistant.i have circled the composition I think I might use. Let me know what you all think. Hope to have these out before school starts.
Also, have fallen in love with the music of Feist.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Hey guys-
George Pratt showed us this old German magazine the other day that blew my mind!
The illustrations in it were way ahead of thier time, and mixed line quality and graphic shapes in a way that reminded me of Winsor McCay... times ten. Thought some of you might like to know about. The image above is from one of the artists- Heinrich Kley. I also found a website pertaining to his's the link

also, if you look for the magazine online you can find PDFs of all the issues. I encourage those who are interested to take a gander. Some of this stuff was the inspiration for Fantasia.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

more thumbnails

I decided the first idea was not relevant enough to the content of the article. Still wanting to keep this something I would be interested in drawing, I tried to think of some other scenarios where one would need to call the remington hotline:

 There was one more picture but blogger won't let me upload it. Anyway, I am probably going to go with the first image. I'm curious to see what you guys think. Also, 2 days to the tentative deadline? I am taking an extension.

there's a designer in our midst

so i thought i told mike to add me but clearly i didn't or he doesn't listen. but anyways, i wanted to join in and keep my joints oily with a lil practice. i am hustlin like its no tomorrow this summer (working summer camps at COCA, Portfolio Plus R.A., taking digital photography class, and doing freelance design work with WU's Office of Judicial Programs) so be forewarned that the work may be subpar and sporadic, but i do pledge to try. if nothing else, i get to keep up with you guys cuz being around all these teenagers is making me feel old. well not old, but adult-like which is a bit more unsettling. either way, its nice to be back.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I swear Amy's on her way

If I were on the job they would have fired me by now. I have a final concept ready for Ms Winehouse, but due to other priorities I have yet to start the final yet. Also She's been in the news so much recently that I have to add some things. My concept involves a sea of hands, a grammy, and an awesome drawing method Sterling Hundley taught us. So I beg your patience, its in quantum space for now.
I have, however, been hard at work doing a cover for WUPR, and you can see this in process and further Academy work on my blog. Also, I have been hard at work on the shotgun 911 piece. 
In an effort to differentiate, I wanna try the idea of mixing up an emergency line for guns with real emergency lines.
So far my ideas involve guns as people, a fireman saving a rifle, and these two gems.

Not as strong perhaps as some of the other ideas, but the idea of a crook and cop with broken guns calling a hotline tickles my fancy, in some odd way.
Let me know what you all think, and please comment on some of the stuff I've posted on my blog also. I love hearing from you guys, and always appreciate the critiques.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Eek. I disappeared. Sorry! I actually did the first exercise, too! Sadly, I got a bit preoccupied, and then my classes began, and I got a job, etc. No excuses. But I'm afraid I'm going to be a loser and pass on exercise #2. I simply don't have enough hours in a day right now.

Some of you know I've been dabbling in the written word, and over the last three weeks I went from a major revision of my first novel, to submissions, and on Monday I got an offer from an agent! I sign with them next week (still not sure which agent, because two more came back and asked to have until Friday)...point is, I'm going to take a pass, and I PROMISE I'll do the next one.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

guns and explosions

Since I have no problem with guns, explosions, trucks, etc. I will be working on the first article (also I read that one and made some sketches before Mike posted the second one). I came up with several ideas but this was the one I liked best by far:

for some reason I liked the idea of the hunted animals being the ones calling the hotline, but I'm afraid that is too far removed from the subject/message of the article? I wanted some opinions on the concept before I move ahead with it. Also, I was thinking it might be better to have a lot of bears, or a lot of deer, etc., instead of the one-of-each setup I have now. And yeah, it is getting kind of cliche for me to draw animals with inanimate objects.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Article #2: Google Goggles

Alright, it has been brought to my attention that many of the illustration assignments you have received thus far may reflect some bias toward guns, explosions, and other XY-oriented imagery. In the interests of keeping everybody happy and, more importantly, involved in this purely voluntary activity, I have posted another article that John gave me at one time or another. It didn't used to be part of the curriculum, so I sincerely apologize if I've yanked this one out of any new lesson plan, John. No guns, no explosions, and everyone's happy. See how good I am to you guys? Fair warning, it's a somewhat twisted, bizarre story, and in order to do this, you need to stay focused on the broadest themes involved, or else the image will get muddy awfully fast. Go team!

Google Goggles: A Cautionary Tale

Dek: In less than a second, he peered into his past and found his first love. Then things got weird

It starts innocently enough. The insomnia-filled hours between my six-month-old son’s nighttime feedings give me time to fill. Too much time, in fact. One night, sick of contemplating the ever-expanding contents of my navel, I make a vain attempt at doing something useful: I log on to the computer to track down a replacement filter for our humidifier. One mouse-click leads to another, and all of a sudden I’m hot and heavy with the ghosts of girlfriends past.

I enter the name of the girl to whom I lost my virginity and press return. Even though the trail is, I'm embarrassed to admit, nearly 20 years old now, Google finds my long lost love, Jennifer Miles, in just 0.27 seconds. (I've changed her name and other details to protect her identity. Yes, it's ancient history, but it still seems poor form to kiss and tell.)

Jennifer Miles is now an attorney-at-law, who, according to the online newsletter for Baker, Reardon and McCloud, just made partner. But is that my Jennifer Miles? Or is my Jennifer Miles the soccer mom who felt the need to take her recipe for noodle salad and give it to the world? The confessional poetry that Jennifer Miles posted on sounds like it could be the work of my ex-Jennifer, but it turns out that this Jennifer Miles is now a freshman at Harvard. The last time I saw my Jennifer, this aspiring Sylvia Plath hadn't even been born. I keep searching.


We met when I was 17. She was 19. I had run off see the world but only got as far as Minneapolis--and an experimental high school affiliated with a regional children's theater company. The artistic director was a man whose love of children was unfortunately later revealed as a love of children, but that's another story. Jennifer, an actress apprenticing with the company, lived down the hall from me at the big white boarding house on Stevens Avenue. It was a grand old Victorian lady of a place that you could almost hear clucking her tongue as she presided over her shifting population of young bohemians, all, like me, intent on throwing away the only thing we owned: our innocence.

I had no hope of winning Jennifer, which is, of course, why I had to have her. Blond, model-pretty, with a sublime distaste for underwear and the sort of permanent pout I had only seen in the magazines underneath my older brother's bed. At 17, my post-pubescence was still warm. It had been ugly, gawky, geeky, my molting. Finally, I had emerged from the Oxy-10 cocoon of puberty not as a butterfly but as a fully formed walking erection. Anyone who bought stock in Kleenex or Vaseline that year did very well.

It seemed to me during this period that everyone, everywhere, was having sex--but me. As with many an oppressed minority, my only hope for real change seemed to be through acts of civil disobedience. I did everything short of hunger strikes and parades to draw attention to the harrowing plight of my erection. Jennifer couldn't so much as go to the bathroom without crossing my picket line of one. I was determined to get laid by any means necessary. No justice, no peace.

And then one night, I just “happened” to be passing by her room and she just happened to invite me in and then, like so many of those moments in life when everything changes all at once, it just sort of happened.

“You're not so bad looking.”

“I'm not?” Had puberty been kinder than I thought?

“I invited you in, didn't I?”

“Yeah . . .” I didn't know what else to say. The ball had never been in my court before. Hell, it had never been in my zip code.

“Just say, ‘I want you. Right now.’”

“Ah, sure. I, ah, want you. Right now would be great.”

She smiled, not unkindly, and without much ado took me by the hand and led me to a place where I actually, literally, felt as if I had left my body. I floated above the bed, fascinated, almost like a bird watcher who, after years of sitting in the woods, finally spots that rare bird heretofore only studied in guide books (or, in my case, my brother's copies of Penthouse). Breathlessly, I watched as that fairest of all fowl, the Bobbing Headed Woodshiner, perched between my legs and began her distinctive mating dance.

All I remember of the week that followed is a warm glow and a pleasant soreness. And that I was in love with her. To question whether this was true love or just sex is to miss the point. When you're 17 and a virgin and a beautiful woman has sex with you, you love her for that. True, deep love.

All life-altering things must come to an end, though, and that's where David comes in. David, Jennifer's ex-boyfriend, appeared in our kitchen one morning, fresh off the plane from Houston, all dark and adult, his lawyerness hanging on him like expensive cologne. David took Jennifer off to some hotel downtown where expensive lawyers go to have sex like grown-ups, while I sat by the door like a dog waiting for his master to come home.

In the end, David got the girl and I got a dear John letter that opened with “I'm sorry” and closed with the oddly poetic “I love you in the dark and in the day.” But, I guess, just not in Minneapolis. Jennifer disappeared in a cloud of David's cologne, and I never saw or heard from her again.

Life went on. Jennifer's room was taken by a smelly lesbian from Iowa who would stand in the kitchen with her hand down her pants blathering about Brecht to anyone who passed by the fridge. I tried throwing myself into my work but it didn't help. I’d been cast as the ass end of an elephant in the theater company's production of Babar the Little Elephant. It was a role for which I was a little too qualified.


Finally, my Googling takes me to a Web site devoted to all Jennifers great and small, a monument to some poor guy's losing battle with obsessive compulsive disorder. There I find a listing for a Jennifer Miles, actress, and a list of credits. A respectable little TV and B-movie career that petered out in the mid-nineties.

I happen to own the one film of the alleged Jennifer's that received a wide release. It's one of my favorites, in fact. After nearly 20 years of wondering what the hell happened to her, was she right here under my nose the whole time? I watch the movie with my finger on the pause button, like a hunter with a gun, lying in wait for my elusive Jennifer. In the credits, she is listed simply as “woman in red dress.” During the opening sequence a construction worker whistles at a woman in red dress, and she says what sounds like “Save it for somebody who cares” as the camera cranes up and away from the street and some Executive Producer's name flashes across the screen.

Is it her? She's a small figure in the back of the shot and when I pause the DVD, her face is little more than an impressionistic smudge. I study this 17-second piece of footage with feverish intensity, as if it were the sequel to the Zapruder film, analyzing the movement of her hips as they sway back and to the right, back and to the right. Maybe it's her. Maybe the angle of the shot just makes it difficult to tell. Maybe there was a conspiracy. Maybe there was a second shooter up on that grassy knoll. Maybe I'm going insane.

So what if it is her? Where is she now? Los Angeles? Isn't that where former TV actresses go to die? The Internet white pages has only two listings for a Jennifer Miles in the entire L.A. metro area. I can't imagine the Jennifer I knew, or anyone else for that matter, ending up in a place called “Rancho Cucamonga” so it has to be the one in the Hollywood Hills. It takes a stiff drink but I dial the number. One ring. Two rings. Three rings. I start to relax. It looks like we're going to voice-mail.

“Hi, this is Jennifer. I'm looking for something to restore my faith in human nature. If you'd like to take a stab at it, leave me a message.”

Yeah, that's actually the message, word for word. Somehow, I don't think crank calls from sentimental losers in their boxer shorts (that would be me) is what she had in mind. I call back three more times just to listen to the message. Is it her? Maybe--the quirkiness of the message, the not so subtly veiled flirtation, the hint of an Oklahoma twang. I try one last time.


I freeze for a moment and then, thankfully, remember to hang up the phone. I know that it's her, but it can't be her. It can’t be that easy after all this time. But it sounded like her. How do I know it sounded like her? After 20 years I remember what she sounds like? I could call her back. And say what? Is this Jennifer Miles? I know it's Jennifer Miles, the Jennifer Miles of 9880 Spring View Way, Los Angeles. So what do I say then? Are you the Jennifer Miles at 9880 Spring View Way, Los Angeles, the Jennifer Miles who humped me, dumped me, and left me in pieces? She's going to think that I'm some crazy loser stalker weirdo. Am I some crazy loser stalker weirdo?

“Honey? What are you doing?” calls my wife from the bedroom.

“Nothing!” I fumble and drop the phone in my haste to hide the evidence.

“Will you check on the baby before you come to bed?”

“Yes, honey!”

As I stumble in the dark over to the screened-off corner of our New York City apartment that we grandly refer to as “the nursery,” I am half afraid that the sound of my heart knocking against my ribcage will be enough to wake the baby. I bend to touch the warm down of his baby hair and feel ashamed. But of what? What am I guilty of? Nostalgia? Dialing a wrong number? I'll tell my wife about it and she will laugh and that will be that.


“Mmmm-hmmm . . .”

She's asleep, or almost. Why wake her? Why trouble her over nothing? I spoon with her in the dark. Our efforts to restart our sex life after the baby was born have been bittersweet at best, like coming back to a house that once was yours after someone else has moved in and renovated. She has been depressed postpartum, self-conscious about her weight, anxious. On the rare occasions when I take the time to shave, she quizzes me on my plans, asks if I have a date.

“Mmmm-hmmm?” she repeats.

“Nothing,” I say. I take comfort in the thought that a secret is not a secret if there is really nothing to tell. I am taking care of her, protecting her feelings. What a considerate husband I am.


Months pass. I forget about Jennifer Miles. Really. But then one day, I just happen to be out in L.A. on business, and just happen to have a couple hours to kill between meetings, and just happen to drive all the way across town against traffic to find myself here, parked in front of her house, sticking to the vinyl upholstery of my rented white Taurus in a cold sweat. I look up at the modest stucco house, perched at the top of one of those impossible little cul-de-sacs in the Hollywood Hills. Behind the screen door, the main door is open. Only a few millimeters of wire mesh now separate me from Jennifer, that and almost 20 years. Will she be anything like I remember her? Will she remember me at all? I tell myself that in one more minute I will get up the nerve to go knock on that door.

The minute passes. And then one more. I debate with myself which would be more pathetic--to have come all this way to see her, or to have come all this way just to turn around and go home? It's a toughie. I open the car door, close it again. No. Too naked, too desperate. Maybe a “chance meeting” at the coffee shop, a grocery store? Much better. I visualize the whole thing. Looking at her. That first taste of eye contact. A flash of recognition in her eyes. I “casually” go over to her.

“Jennifer? Jennifer Miles?”

And then what? Only now does it occur to me to ask what it is that I want from all this. It's not about mending fences or picking up where we left off. Our entire relationship, such as it was, lasted a week. She is just an icon of my youth, memorabilia of my becoming, some souvenir ashtray that an accident of history--that she was “my first”--has rendered a priceless heirloom in my memory. I think what I want most, actually, is just that flash of recognition. As if, within that momentary flash, there might still be a glimmer of the big bang that created my adult universe; a window back across the light-years of marriage and fatherhood to the precise moment I became a man in the arms of Jennifer Miles, now a stranger living in Los Angeles.

Maybe if I knocked on that door, I would see that magical flash of recognition. Or maybe I would just see a harried almost-40 woman, a little thick around the middle, graying at the temples, frayed around the edges. It wouldn't be magical. It would be like looking in the mirror. I don't know if it makes me a romantic or a cynic or just older, but I prefer the unlined reflection of memory in which both me and my Jennifer are forever foxy.

I don't really miss her. I miss my youth. I miss when weight was still something I wanted to put on, and when I still believed that “making love” and “having sex” meant the same thing. I miss problems I could just grow out of, and summers I really thought would never end. I miss not understanding all those things that my parents told me I’d understand when I got old enough. I bet Jennifer does, too.

I start the car. And with a little wave, to wish her well, I drive away.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Concept sketches for 'Shotgun 9-1-1'

As penance for dragging my feet on the portrait, I made sure to have a quick turn-around on these concepts. As you can see, I have two main ideas: 1) illustrating an actual shotgun "emergency", and 2) illustrating the idea of getting gun help over-the-phone.

I started with the top one, but decided that the 'phone call' was too small, and as a result too easily lost. The second one started the same way, but by replacing the boulder with a tree I could crop in closer. I also like the division of the picture plane and the new pose for the bear. Granted, it may be a bit vague (Who is he calling? Is he calling the park ranger? Yogi?), but by emphasizing the brokenness of the gun and refining his pose that he's looking more at the gun and concentrating on its reassembly, I believe it would work. The second of the above sketches is my favorite, but in the spirit of always trying to explore new ideas, I also have this one:

Lamely employing the "phone-call split-screen" device, the kindly Remington doctor is helping this clearly distressed gun owner revive his fallen compatriot. It's no Field & Stream centerfold, but a serviceable idea if need be.

I seek feedback and the revival of a somewhat stagnant blog. Post!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shotgun 9-1-1

Fresh from the wastepaper basket of Mr. John Hendrix, I present an interesting little spot from Field and Stream. Before I get complaints about how some of you might find the subject limiting, keep in mind that the ability to take an article on anything and be able to design an image in such a way that you can invest yourself in it is important. No matter what an article is about, you can probably have fun with it. So, take the relative absurdity of this article and run with it, because it could be a lot of fun.

Size 6" by 4"

"Due" date: Monday, July 3rd.

Shotgun 9-1-1.

The following, as they say on those Onstar ads, is an actual conversation with a Remington consumer service representative and a Remington customer:

Caller: “My 1100 keeps jamming.”
CSR: “Do you clean it?”
Caller: “Every time I shoot it I clean it just like my daddy taught me. I use a bronze brush and solvent and scrub out the fouling, then run cloth patches through the barrel until they come out clean.”
CSR: “Do you take the forearm off and clean the gas system?”
Caller: “The forearm comes off?”

If you have a problem with your Remington; want to learn the history of an older gun; need to talk about a repair or order spare parts; or you want information on new models, dial 800-243-9700. You won’t be alone. Even in July -- typically a slow month – Remington Consumer Service fields 3,000-4,000 calls a week. From mid-August through Thanksgiving that volume doubles. Consumer service also receives around 4,000 e-mails during busy months, a steady stream of faxes – mostly part orders – and a trickle of old fashioned snail mail.

A misguided few want a cleaning brush for a Remington shaver (it’s not the same Remington). Some have called thinking “WRA” stamped on a gun barrel somehow meant “Remington” not “Winchester Repeating Arms,” but the vast majority have valid questions. Sixteen consumer service representatives (CSRs) answer the phones every day at Remington corporate headquarters in Madison, N.C.

“We have a mix of shooters and non-shooters among our CSRs,” says Consumer Service manager John Locsin. Sometimes it’s easier to train someone who hasn’t shot before but shooting and hunting backgrounds are a definite plus. Lately I’ve been hiring shooters.”
David Sykes, 50, of Greensboro, N.C. is one of Locsin’s relatively new hires; a hunter and shooter for 45 years, he worked in consumer service at the IRS and American Express before coming to Remington three years ago. He knew he had entered a different corporate culture during his initial interview: “I mentioned sometimes my own 11-87 flummoxed me, and they got one out and we took it apart and did a walk-through right there on the desk.”

Like all new consumer service reps, Sykes received extensive training. He spent four weeks in the classroom learning company history and product lines before he ever touched a telephone. He visited the call center to listen to representatives handling calls, then spent a week on the phone with a CSR next to him before he “soloed. After a couple weeks on the phones Sykes went back for three weeks of technical training to learn about about parts and repairs.

In three years on the job, Sykes has taken all kinds of calls. “One man who called me about a repair was out crow hunting. He kept saying “Hang on,” and I’d hear “BAM, BAM” then we would continue our conversation.” He says the most common answer to “My 1100-11/87 doesn’t cycle” is that the customer forgot to put the barrel seal back on the gun after taking it apart for cleaning. In August, people ask Sykes about shot size for dove hunting. “I tell them to use 8 shot in the first week of the season, then 7 1/ 2 later as the birds get wild,” he says. Every day, though, there are surprises: “People lose stuff. I mean, I get absent minded sometimes, but people call who have lost bolts from their rifles while they were out hunting How do you lose a rifle bolt? I try not to think too much about how it happened, I just concentrate on getting them back into the field.”


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

better image

sorry, last post didn't maximize for some reason

WorkinProgress: Amy Winehouse illo

Hello all,
Forgive my laxness of reporting as of late, I have been quite busy with other work. I have reworked the image quite a bit, with this being the latest version. 
I'm working off the idea that John pointed out to me that its ironic that the media hails Amy as a genius while at the same time publicizing her troubled personal life. Thus I crafted an image that points out her grammy winning status as well as her "crazy" status.
There should be a break in the program next week for "Lecture Week" at which time I will try to work value and hue in this piece. 
Hope everyone is doing well!  I will try and send e-mails shortly.


Great Flash Animation

Ok, so I obviously haven't posted a thing since I put up those sketches a few weeks ago, but today (when I should have been working) I found this link that I think you might all enjoy.

It's a short animation by Alan Becke called Animator vs. Animation. It's rather simple, but I think it's both interesting and a great example of an unorthodox approach towards concept and execution. Check it out.

Oh, and one day I plan on finishing the Elvis Costello editorial illustration… someday. Before then, however, all of you designers should be on the lookout for a project designed for you by Ms. Mary Rosamond and yours truly. The parameters will be posted within the next week.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In process - Ellen and Gollum

Hi Summer Studio,
So I'm posting this in-process in the spirit of rejuvenating our somewhat dormant blog. 
I could use some help figuring out how to finish the composition of the piece. I learned from MikeC that I probably stepped outside of the goals of the original assignment, which was to make a likeness of someone that evokes a recognizable aspect of that person's life rather than making an editorial commentary with additional figures. Saddened though I am, I would still like to make this piece work.

The problem I am having compositionally: I have one figure, "Gollum"—who will have a cross around his neck—anguished and shocked, and a passable likeness of Ellen fingering the coveted "ring." I'm not sure how to synthesize these two figures other than how I've done it here. I've been thinking about maybe a flowery, Austin Powers movie poster-like design in the background, to reinforce that I am referencing Ellen's homosexuality. Or perhaps, I need to emphasize marriage, and place them in a setting of a church or something. Give me your thoughts please.

Best of luck on your drawings!


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Scarlett v3

Ha! I laugh in the face of paying work. As I have NO paying work I've had a little more time to devote to this project it is. Although Marblehead does sometimes feel isolated and like a colonial village, it was financial restraints, not rustic living, as Hendrix implied, that made me unable to complete this piece with gauche as I would have liked. On the bright side I did get to stretch my digital coloring muscles. Some call it carpal tunnel, I call it devotion.

I'm fairly happy with my Scarlett although in the coloring process I think she started to look less like Scarlett Johannson than she did while in pencil form. I decided that I love Scarlett too much to give her a bad review so I decided to depict her singing happy flowers & butterflies, rather than wilting or rotting ones. I tried to evoke imagery from Tom Waits' "Orphans" album to suggest her taking on Waits' songs but singing them very differently....flowerly to say the least. It may be a bit of a stretch but it was fun! Hope to see some final work from you all shortly...Michael.

Cushy soft deadlines.

Greetings, all:

In the interests of honoring our project's "deadline," I feel it is important to acknowledge its passing: it is now 12:41 AM on the day after the editorial portrait was "due" and no one has posted, including myself. Well done, us.

While not unexpected in the least, it merits mentioning that many of you have good concepts and good sketches, and that the beauty of such an experiment is that rather than setting hard deadlines we can harass each other into actually producing the work that we intended. Believe me, harassment is imminent, and I expect the same directed at me.

What's my excuse? Unfortunately, paying work trumps fun work every time, and paying work has stepped up considerably since classes ended. Good for me, sure, but bad for my self-driven projects. I still intend to post an editorial portrait of Tom Waits in the coming week.

So, Summer Studio marches on. Submit the portrait when complete (we all know who you are and what you were doing, so there's no escape), and submit suggestions for the next project.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Indy is Old

Hey All,

Sorry I have been MIA from this blog so far.  I have been having some internet troubles.  You'll also be shocked to know that I have been having trouble deciding who I want to make my likeness of.  I finally decided on an aging Harrison Ford from the new Indiana Jones movie.  Anyone got any brilliant ideas on how to make Indy look old in a funny way?

Also, I don't have a scanner so I'm not entirely sure I will be able to get my work up here.  You might just have to live with vivid descriptions I will be posting.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

DeGeneres VS DeGollum

Hi friends,
Here is a sketch that I've been working on for the Ellen idea. Sorry it's later than promised. I modified my original concept according to the feedback I received earlier, so that instead of Ellen masquerading as Gollum and prancing around with the ring, she is seen gaining possession of it, over the protests of the Gollum figure with a cross around his neck.

I like the drawing of Gollum. As it stands now--I think that it is hard to see in the scan--Gollum is tied to a tree, which I want to be read as the new legislation protecting gay marriage. Ellen I know needs a lot of work. The exaggerating features thing is new to me, and I'm not that good at getting a likeness anyway. However, I definitely learned a lot while doing my sketches from this website: . The artist, Tom Richmond, goes over some basic principles of caricature and likenesses, so if you're interested, take a look. I'm definitely going to work on Ellen more, like give her an actual pose, etc. What do you guys think about the subtle (i like to think it's subtle) "finger" that she gives the shocked Gollum?


Oh yeah, I almost forgot...
The following image reminds me of Ryan, as I imagine him in his room in NY:
I bring this up because I'd like to suggest that our next "assignment" for Summer Studio be focused on people in studio. I get dibs on Ryan (he wont be Gollum)!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hey guys, sorry for the radio silence. Have several things due on the 3rd. But I have been working on this project. My scanner's still packed but I'll dig it out tomorrow. I'm trying to decide between

A. Showing Dexter in front of body bags marked as different stations, i.e. hbo, nbc, abc, etc, because the show's become a hit and really been butchering the competition.

B. Creating Dexter's portrait out of a blood spatter because that's his job in the forensics department, as well as an insight into his morbid moonlighting.

Colored Pencil?

I have very limited access to art supplies back in Boston so I've decided to revisit my collection of colored pencils. I have very limited experience working with said pencils & I know they can be finicky. Do any of you have any experience/have any helpful hints for me about working with them?

So this is a colored pencil version of my original sketch. I'm trying out the singing flowers...if I go this route I might have the entire picture plane taken up by brightly colored flowers...I'm not sure how I feel about the colored did help to get a sense of this medium. I'm also not sure if my right hand will free itself from it's claw-like position...hope it's not permanent.

Moon Unit

In the interest of encouraging the production and posting of finish art, here is a personal piece for an article on Lunar Property Rights that I finished on Thursday night, executed in gouache at around 11" x 8". Feel free to comment accordingly.


Friday, May 30, 2008

hey everybody

I have been lagging on working on/contributing to this project a little. I'm planning on doing Daniel Day-Lewis, specifically as Daniel from There Will Be Blood. He has a pretty distinct face so right now I am just working on getting his facial features down. Conceptually, I was going to make a general statement about his role in the movie as a sociopathic oil magnate.  I'll post some sketches in the next day or so.

Amy WInehouse revisited...and Image treasure trove found

Hey all,

After reading John's suggestion for my piece, I went back to do some more brainstorming. I've shot some reference material with the help of Mike Alan, and Meredith, and hope to have some images up soon, since i don't know how busy I'll be come Monday.

In related news, ironically enough, my family has an estate Saturday and while rummaging through old books I found a plethora of vintage illustration and design images. I have alot of great reference sources now, including early issues of American Heritage, chock full of great images. I'm definitely gonna try and bring these back to St. Louis when I get back. If anyone is interested in seeing some of these things, let me know. I could try and post them on my blog before I head to florida.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

She's Just Being Miley

Greetings fellow blog participants. For this assignment, I have chosen Miley Cyrus as my subject. For those of you who are not in the know, Miley Cyrus is a 15-yr-old Disney star with her own television show entitled "Hannah Montana." She is also the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus (Achy Breaky Heart, anyone?)

Miley recently participated in 
a Vanity Fair photoshoot that caused a lot of controversy because of a particular photograph in which Miley appears topless and covers herself with a sheet. Since the photograph has gotten so much coverage, I've considered actually working with the famous pose for my final illustration, but I'm not sold on it. Here are some initial sketches, mostly posted to appease the worries of Michael Costelloe (see I really am working on it!). 

It's been difficult for me to get a likeness down, I think mostly because she is so young, but the make-up she has on in photographs makes her look very old, which can be confusing. Im pretty sure I can work out these types of aesthetic problems on my own, but my real problem has been with the concept. Right now I'm consider ing showing Miley in the same pose as the Vanity Fair photo, only pregnant, smoking a cigarette, with tattooes, etc., or I'm thinking of making Miley into a puppet, possibly controlled by paparazzi, business executives, and family... but I am not thrilled with either of these and I have been having trouble generating lots of ideas.

I attempted to use the same brainstorming process we used for John Hendrix's editorial illustration project earlier in the year. First, I thought of a couple things I wanted to say in response to the Vanity Fair shoot, or "thesis statements": 1) Miley Cyrus is being exploited for money and 2) Miley Cyrus is becoming corrupted at a young age like many child stars before her. When I started to break down the sentences and come up with metaphors and symbols, I got confused. I posted one of my brainstorming pages. 

Does anyone have any improvements on the ideas I already have or new ideas all together? The reason I hesitate with both of the ideas I have now is that they seem so literal. Yes, a puppet is a metaphor, but it seems too obvious. Also, I'm having trouble showing Miley as following in the footsteps of other child stars; I don't know how to depict that. Finally, an illustration showing Miley pregnant and boozing seems hilarious in theory, but isn't it kind of a cheap shot?I'm starting to think maybe the larger problem is that I need to step back and re-think my statements about the issue. Overall, I am confused. Help!


Editorial Portrait

Hey Guys,

So I whipped up this sexy painting the other day…

just kidding, more like fall of 2006. Anyway, I didn’t do Mike’s project, because I’m a designer and I need to be worrying about refining my typography instead of editorial portraits. Mike why did you invite me to this illustrator club? I probably won’t be doing these projects, but I will definitely be keeping myself creatively busy this summer—my internship is five days a week, and I want to do some design projects on my own, so I’ll hopefully post things regularly.

Okay, back to the portrait…Rachel told me that I actually already completed the assignment (sort of, the person is obviously not famous) and convinced me to post this, so here it is. This is a portrait of Emma Cohen, who in everyday life can come off as prim and prudish. (But she relishes this mask; I’m not criticizing her, haha) Considering this, it is certainly ironic that I depicted her in the context of her bedroom, half nude, in this pose. She’s very scholarly and well read, and I think the original idea for the piece had something to do with the content of her books entering the background, (the letterforms) and parts of her are clearly rendered while others dissipate and become apart of the textured atmosphere. Rachel reminded me that Emma is doing her thesis on desire and sexuality in the classroom, so there might be a link there as well. The piece is done in pastel and acrylic on arches paper, 42inches by 75 inches. Critique as you like.

Also, Mike C—Rachel told me that you did a neat illustration of some cityscape/map thing in Illustrator. I’d love to see it; can you please send me a pdf or something?


Scarlett v2

So this is my second version of Scarlett as Waits. I actually heard her rendition of "Falling Down" on the radio today which was pretty exciting. I know I've been told that I'm tend towards shape-based illustration, but I still don't know what that for now line reigns supreme! Comments?...Oh and I apologize for the nasty jpg that this scanner is less than ideal... :/

Ellen's getting married!

Hey everyone,

I need to unpack my scanner cable so that I can actually post the sketches I have done. That will be done later tonight. My concept is as follows: I want to illustrate Ellen Degeneres and her ecstasy over her forthcoming marriage (to her girlfriend Portia di Rossi) in June. I don't know if you guys remember as clearly as I do that sequence in Return of the King when Gollum (poor thing) finally gets the One Ring by biting off Frodo's finger, and he is capering around the edge of a precipice. There is a fantastic shot of Gollum with a look of immense satisfaction and just overwhelming triumph on his face as he holds up the ring and peers at it. I want to replace Gollum with Ellen to celebrate her long-awaited marriage.

Anyway, more later. I'll post a screen capture of the original shot in the movie and my sketches...

In regards to the question of John Hendrix admin-ing on Summer Studio, I agree that we should extend to him authorship on the blog, as long as we aren't being secretly graded.


First impressions.

Greetings, everyone:

I figured I should check in and commend all you whom have jumped head-first into this activity, both by posting either drawings, feedback, or both. I don't think I could asked for a more auspicious beginning to The Summer Studio, and I don't know about the rest of you, but I have begun anxiously checking for new posts or comments with increasing frequency.

I don't know if many of you noticed, but a certain Mr. Hendrix has taken valuable time from something that approximates an actual career and found his way over to the Summer Studio (without prodding, I may add), generously offering comments on the sketches posted by both Lee and Sam. I suppose we should offer him authorship so that he can offer more insight if he continues to be so inclined, but I will leave that to the consensus of the group.

In review, here's what participants have chosen for our first assignment:
Rachel: Scarlett Johansson
Victoria: Michael C. Hall from 'Dexter'
Sam: Amy Winehouse
Lee: Elvis Costello (Applause for a designer participating in inter-league play)
Jenny: Miley Cyrus (possibly)
Alan: I heard from Jenny what Alan was working on, but I've already forgotten. Alan?
and, as promised:
Mike C: Undecided as of yet, but probably Tom Waits. I hope to post a few doodles soon.

So where are the rest of you? Excuses should probably be posted in lieu of actual work if that is the case.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Drawing? Oh yeah, I learned that once...

Hello, everyone. This is Lee checking in from the Crescent City. Many of you met me last December. Hell, some of you might even remember me. I was a guest critique-er for your comic projects in Digital Adventures as well as your final book project for the Junior Studio. Though I am primarily a designer (with a slim knowledge of illustration), Mike seems to think that I may be of use in this little experiment. I too will be participating in the projects so that, in effect, I will be serving two purposes at once: (1) to critique your work, and (2) to make you all look better by posting my poor excuses for illustrations.

Now then, I haven't drawn on a regular basis at least since Barbaro roamed the earth, so instead of investigating too many approaches up front, I decided to just do some sketching of Mr. Elvis Costello. Below, you can see the two approaches I was taking. The marker approach... well, the marker approach sucks, but the other approach (uniball micros, as it were) has a bit of promise.

And yes, by "promise" I mean there were a total of two decent sketches, one of which looks suspiciously like Jack Nicholson despite the fact that he was nowhere near my apartment during this process.

A while later, I managed to churn out this baby.

It isn't perfect, but it's better than I expected to achieve on day 1. I like the look and feel of it, so I think I'm going to stick to the pen and ink approach; however, I still need to determine what he'll be doing in the image.

So, my question to you all... any thoughts on the last image? Any illustrators I should check out if I'm going to continue with this approach?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

prelims ahoy

So I finally finished the project for the career center i was working on, and instead of packing for my summer in florida, I decided to start drawing and trying ideas for the Amy Winehouse illustration.  
After some research I found out she has one crazy life, and tried various ideas to express that. I decided the best image would be of items and people from her melodramatic career in her crazy beehive hairdo. 
It was great to just draw for a while. After a year of critical thinking putting pencil to paper felt kind of weird. Adding value was even weirder, but it was refreshing.
Let me know what yall think. I gots to have somes critique to get this bird to fly.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I don't have any awesome images to show, but I did recieve an e-mail from my senator, John Cornyn, concerning the Orphan Acts Bill. It was kind of vague, and he really didn't give me a clear answer.
In essence, it seems like he's supporting this because of the bill's support from music and movie industry. He gave me the example of old film rotting away because libraries are afraid of copyright infringement. So....yeah I'm not sure he understands what my e-mail was about.

However, he did say they were revising it to suit all concerns. I got a little lost in the political talk. Just thought I'd update everyone.

Oh, and my editorial is going to be Amy Winehouse, since I usually dont draw women. working on rough sketches now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


So Scarlett Johannson just released a covers album of random Tom Waits songs from a number of his albums. I listened to the album and it sounds, as Meghan would say, like Scarlett's pooping butterflies and burping rainbows. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Scarlett, but this album sounds like she [her producers] wrapped up Waits in cotton candy & shipped him off to Nevernever Land. I want to do a portrait of Scarlett...maybe on a cloud with butterflies coming out of her mouth rather than notes....I don't know. Maybe with a Tom Waits hat. Not sure yet. Here are some prelim sketches. To capture Scarlett Johannson, it's all about the nose and the mouth so I'm trying to get those aspects down now. Ideas?

The Summer Studio Mini-Manifesto.

The idea behind this is to promote continued discourse and constructive criticism over the creative dead period that is the summer and if successful, beyond. With that in mind, the reason I made all of you authors is that you can post things to it just as easily as I could. I absolutely expect to see your editorial portraits posted to this blog, and I would encourage you to post anything else you've created or found that you feel is worthy of collective attention/criticism. Once work starts going up here, we can start talking about it.

At this point, everyone is on board from the initial invite except Meredith and Ryan, who are both AWOL. Any other suggestions for inclusion?


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Orphan Works Bill

I'm sure you all have been receiving Linda's e-mails concerning the U.S. Senate's pending approval of a bill that will redefine copyright law for creative work. Go back, undelete them, and read them if you haven't already. If this bill clears the House and Senate, it stands to make your professional life more difficult before it even starts, and it would make fun little exercises like this prohibitively careless due to copyright concerns. Linda has included links in her most recent e-mail that brings you to site that allows you to send form letters against the bill to your State Representatives, courtesy of the Illustrator's Partnership. I've copied them here, and I've already sent letters to the NJ, MO, and LA representatives.

House of Representatives:

U.S. Senate:

Editorial Portrait clarifications

Rachel asked a few questions about choosing a likeness, namely:
  • Is any likeness okay?
  • Should it be someone who is popularly known?
Yes, any likeness is okay, but it will help you to choose someone with either an established persona or someone who has done something newsworthy recently. Since it is an "Editorial" portrait, as the illustrator you are depicting BOTH the person and information relevant to the person. If it helps, Lee and I discussed this project this morning when he should've been doing real work. My initial thoughts on people, and why I would think they presented an interesting subject:
  • Eli Manning (NY Giants quarterback) - NFL preseason started recently and there's been a lot of talk about the pressure on him now that he led the G-men to the SuperBowl. This choice should shock exactly none of you.
  • Tom Waits - Touring this summer.
  • Mike Tyson - 'Writing' a new book to try and distance himself from his completely insane past. Plus, I'd get to draw boxing.
Lee's thoughts:
  • David West/Chris Paul - Just ended a fantastic season revitalizing professional basketball in New Orleans (my condolences, Harold).
  • Elvis Costello - Just released a new album to critical acclaim and headlined New Orleans Jazzfest. Plus, Lee loves him.
  • Mos Def - Actually, Lee had no rational reason for this one.
Really, you can choose anyone. The thinking part comes in how to present them to communicate something additional about them. Take Tom Waits: he's a piano player, an experimental musician, a B-level actor, and I think he might be clinically insane, but how I want to portray him is up to me. Hence, editorial portrait.


Good morning, Angels.

(Good morning, Charlie!)

After you all scattered far and wide, I began kicking around the idea of setting up a blog for the summer. The reasoning behind it is threefold:
  1. Hopefully it will encourage all of you to draw or design your brains out over the summer. You can make your life so much easier for your senior year, especially when it comes to execution.
  2. It might allow me to keep in touch with you over the summer, and might facilitate design-based communication between you over the break, which is arguably most important: these skills certainly fall under the category of "use-it-or-lose-it."
  3. Because it could be a heck of a lot of fun, though the amount of fun will be directly proportional to the level of group participation.
So, as you can see, I've decided to give it a shot: welcome to the Summer Studio. Since I have conceived this as a salon or open forum, I will give posting ability to anyone who wants to participate. I've also included Lee Domingue down in New Orleans and Mary Rosamond here in Saint Louis for a few different perspectives. Post whatever you like, links, articles, but most importantly, your summer work. Which brings us to this:

The Editorial Portrait
As obnoxious as it may be, the ability to create likenesses is important. This doesn't mean you have to be able to paint like C.F. Payne or Anita Kunz. The real challenge is finding a way that you feel comfortable making pictures of recognizable people. People you might find interesting for portraiture include Thomas Fuchs and Mark Ulriksen. This means trying it multiple times and failing until it works. What better to do with failures than post them for your friends to see? Besides, you will do something similar to this early next semester with John, and you'll appreciate the practice then.

A representation that communicates both the physical and psychological aspects of the subject is ideal. Format size is 8" x 10" (standard full-page magazine). Let's say, two weeks and if you people don't blow me off, we'll try something else.

'Deadline': June 3rd.

I hope you all can get into this in some regard. It could really be an enjoyable and productive aspect of your summer. Let me know if you have a blogger account so I can add you to the admin list, and if you don't and you'd like to, make one. If it's any encouragement, if I get some response I'll post my own on June 3rd.

enjoy yourselves,